WHEN YOU ARE CAUGHT CELEBRATING THE BIRTHDAY OF A STRANGER

WHEN YOU ARE CAUGHT CELEBRATING THE BIRTHDAY OF A STRANGER

Written By Victor Uyanwanne

Reason for the Season

 

Birthday celebration is a common phenomenon amongst people of all cultures around the world. Apart from a few exceptions, such as members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, most people I know irrespective of religious or socio-political affiliations observe either their own birthdays or those of their loved ones etc.

When it comes to the issue of birthday celebration, Christians are no exceptions. Right now we are in that special season of the year when we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. That’s what Christmas is – remembering the birth of Christ!

From homes to churches, shopping malls and other public publics, one would have to be blind not to notice the effect of the special season. Colourful decorations adorn the landscapes, feeding the eyes with resplendent appearances. Everywhere we turn, we can hardly evade the Christmas frenzy as there are melodious Christmas tunes churned out by one form of music media or another.

Without doubt, we have all been caught up in the spirit of the season. But whether everybody acknowledges it or not, “Jesus is the reason for the season.”

I do not want to delve into the argument in some certain quarters as to whether it is good or not for Christians to celebrate Christmas. It suffices to say that it is not a sin to celebrate it and it is not a sin not to celebrate.

What matters is why we celebrate it or why we chose not to celebrate it. After all, the beauty of Christmas is not in the actual celebration but in the essence of the celebration.

I believe the essence of Christmas can be traced to the reason for the birth of Jesus Christ. Before Jesus was born, an angel had announced to Joseph that his wife “….will give birth to a son, and you [Joseph] are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

In fulfilling the mandate of saving His people (and the world in general) from Sin, Jesus would have to die. But would he die if he wasn’t born in the first place? We celebrate His birth at Christmas and his death and resurrection at Easter. To the average Christian, both celebrations are significant!

Jesus was born to die to save us from our sins. This is part of what we ought to bear in mind as we celebrate Christmas again this year. Through Jesus Christ, our relationship with the God has been restored.

 Those who celebrate Christmas without having a personal relationship with the Jesus Christ are celebrating the birthday of a Stranger. But the Stranger is standing by to be turned into a Friend of eternal significance.

Unfortunately, many people around the world celebrate Christmas without knowing the real essence of the celebration. Generally, most people recognize Christmas as:

  • A time to share love
  • A time to give gifts
  • A time to eat special meals
  • A time of visiting with family and friends
  • A time to rest
  • A time of shopping
  • A time to buy new cloths
  • A time to party
  • A time to do Carols
  • A time to hold other special events.
  • Etc

None of the activities listed above is bad in themselves. But they end up as meaningless activities if Christ is not the main focus.

How can one make Christ the centre of one’s celebration? One has to begin by establishing personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ!

Have a Christ-filled Chritmas
Have a Christ-filled Chritmas

In the Vanguard 2012  Christmas eve edition, Gabriel Osu wrote,

“In today’s day and time, it is easy to lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas. Amidst the delicious meals, sweet drinks, lovely songs & dances, beautiful friends & family members we would come across this season, let’s try not to forget about the child, born on a winter night so cold, whose bed was made only of hay & animal food; our lord Jesus Christ, who taught us all what real, genuine & unconditional love is. As we celebrate the birth of our saviour, let’s be human & kind enough to remember & show some love to those motherless babies, helpless orphans, hospital patients, prisoners, beggars & all those who are not fortunate enough to be actively involved in the celebration of the birth of our lord and saviour Jesus Christ.”

Christmas would be more meaningful if all the people celebrating had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ the celebrant.

In any birthday occasion, the pleasure is more if one knows the celebrant personally, than if you one is a  complete stranger to the celebrant. For instance, if my father was celebrating his birthday, it would mean more to me to join in the celebration than if the birthday party is for some man down town.

In the same vein, Christmas would be more meaningful if all the people celebrating had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ the celebrant. Those who celebrate Christmas without having a personal relationship with the Jesus Christ are celebrating the birthday of a Stranger. But the Stranger is standing by to be turned into a Friend of eternal significance.

To such people, Jesus is saying “”Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends” Revelation 3:20 NIV . My friend, this is the time to invite Jesus into your heart, if you haven’t already done so. Make this Christmas the most special you have ever had by becoming a friend of Jesus Christ the celebrant.

To all of us who already have a relationship with Jesus Christ, He is no longer a stranger to us. He is our Lord and Master, faithful Friend and Lover. Therefore let us bring glory to God as we have the opportunity once again to remember the birth of His dear Son. So let us:

  • Do everything in love;
  • Reflect Jesus in every way as we celebrate
  • Seek to bring other others into a personal relationship with Jesus.

Merry Christmas in advance.

 

CopyRight | Victor Uyanwanne

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8 thoughts on “WHEN YOU ARE CAUGHT CELEBRATING THE BIRTHDAY OF A STRANGER

  1. Midori Skies December 24, 2015 / 11:07 pm

    I would argue that the winter solstice is the reason for the season. I’m not trying to minimize the importance of Christ to Christians celebrating Christmas. Obviously that is very important to many Christians.

    But many of the traditions used in celebrating Christmas today have their origins in the Christianization of the ancient pagan winter solstice festival of Yule. There are and have been many different holidays at the winter solstice around the world and throughout history. None of these is the origin of celebrating the birth of Jesus, of course, but I do think it has something to do with the date that was chosen to celebrate it.

    You might think I’m kind of missing the point here, but I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the “reason for the season” lately, in part because this is the first year I am celebrating Christmas with my family as an open atheist. Many of the modern Christmas traditions are secular in large part, and Christmas has been commercialized in a way that I find tacky and disgusting.

    But it still feels very odd to me to celebrate Christmas as an atheist when it was very much a religious holiday for me growing up (though of course it was also about gift giving and feasting and spending time with family). I would not celebrate it except to make my family happy. It’s important to me to show them that my being an atheist doesn’t mean I don’t want to participate in important family traditions, so long as I am not being directly asked to participate in religious rituals (like singing worship songs), or having religion forced on me.

    Which is a large part of why I have been researching the origins of certain Christmas traditions and other midwinter holidays. And why I have been trying to find my own way to celebrate the winter solstice in addition to participating in certain Christmas traditions with my family. Because even if parts of Christmas have been secularized, even if some Christmas traditions were originally borrowed from ancient pagan traditions, it’s still a Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus.

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    • Victor Uyanwanne December 25, 2015 / 7:48 am

      Thanks Midori. Anyhow you look at it, we cannot talk about Christmas without talking about Christ.

      We know Jesus was born at a certain time in history, so Christmas affords us the opportunity to celebrate this great birth. To that extent we say Jesus is the reason for the season; He is the reason for the celebration.

      The beauty of Christmas is in the essence of the celebration, not in dead rituals as you talked about. And the Essene is that a Saviour was born…. This Saviour is now calling people into a personal relationship with Himself.

      Of course people of all kinds of conviction are welcome to celebrate Christmas with us. But as Christians we wouldn’t mind introducing them to the Celebrant. That’s the Essene.
      Merry Christmas to you and your family.

      Like

  2. Midori Skies December 25, 2015 / 8:22 am

    The old pagan rituals aren’t exactly dead. There have certainly been efforts by many neo-pagans to revive them in one way or another, and some of them live on in heavily modified form as more mainstream modern winter holiday traditions.

    But yes, Christ is an important part of Christmas. I would feel much less conflicted about celebrating the holiday as an atheist for my family’s sake if it weren’t.

    Happy holidays.

    Like

    • Victor Uyanwanne December 25, 2015 / 8:35 am

      Christ is main reason for Christmas. He is not just ‘an important part’ as you put it. Thanks.

      Like

  3. Midori Skies December 25, 2015 / 10:20 am

    Vital would perhaps be a better word than important?

    Like

    • Victor Uyanwanne December 25, 2015 / 12:31 pm

      Not exactly my point. Christmas ought to be about Christ. Nothing more nothing less.

      Like

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